John Conyers Jr. has been in politics since 1964. The first contributions to his campaign came from his brother Nathan and Damon J. Keith, Nathan’s law partner.
Conyers has donated his personal papers to the Damon J. Keith Collection of African-American Legal History during a ceremony at the Wayne State University Law School. All three men hold law degrees from the school, according to The Detroit Free Press.
The papers will include proposals, bills, documents, speeches and other items. Many of the papers are stored in the office Conyers has in Washington, D.C. and in Detroit.
“There was this relationship that intersected at several points that made it pretty natural to have my papers connected to provisions already set up for Damon’s papers,” said Conyers. “We’re all close and we’ve been close since the beginning.”
When Nathan completed law school he began working at the same firm Keith worked at. The two then became partners at the firm of Keith, Conyers, Anderson, Brown & Wahls. The firm fought racial discrimination both locally and nationally.
“I remember Damon sent me to Danville, Va., a little town that had an ordinance that said five or more blacks congregating constituted riotous assembly,” Conyers said. “There were hundreds of blacks jailed in that town.”
Conyers works as the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus. He said one of his proudest moments was when he helped get Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday recognized as a holiday.
“It elevates what cannot be told in words: the importance of getting an education and using that education to help others,” Keith said about his papers.